CHARITY IS ACTION Poverty and War Follow Disorder
The chief speaker at a public meeting for the Petition to the King which took place on Tuesday at the Essex Hall, London, was Fr. Owen Dudley.
"We are asking His Majesty," said Fr. Dudley, " to exercise His Royal Prerogative and establish an enquiry, conducted by his Judges, into the present economic and social system, under which millions live in poverty; which also produces the causes of economic warfare, contributes to Communism and the danger of Revolution, and leads to actual war between
nations. • Social unrest, social injustices, financial dominaticiii, produce the conditions favourable to war. Signing the petition commits you to no more than asking for the Enquiry.
Plenty For Everybody
" In regard to Poverty there are still people who refuse to believe that any enquiry is needed.
"It is not that there is not plenty for everybody. There is. There is no need for poverty. All the necessities of life could be produced in unlimited quanti ties. The Financial system, however, stands in the way of people procuring them. This state of things continues and is tolerated. That is why the Enquiry is needed.
"In itself the Petition is not the monopoly of any particular religious body; but I do believe with all my heart and soul that it is the outcome of Christianity — which is why 1 also believe that every Christian and Catholic should support it.
Papal Encyclical on Charity
" There is an Encyclical letter of Our Holy Father, the Pope, on 'Christian Charity,' not quite so well known as the one on the Social Order.' It is quite brief, but it contains the unum porro necessarium 'the one thing necessary for the removal of social evils, the one thing without which Petitions ' and Enquiries ' are a mere beating of the air. It is Christian Charity. the Pope declares, which will remove social injustices and the causes of war.
" If there were enough charitable people in the world social life would not go wrong, and there would be no war. There is nothing more calculated to injure harmony in human life than the spirit of bitterness and hate. It is upon charity that all human peace depends whether amongst individuals, classes or nations.
" Denunciation of evil can be an act of charity. There is a righteous anger which contains no hate, but only charity.
" Has any more terrible denunciation of to-day's moral evil and lust ever been uttered by the Holy See than that contained in the Holy Father's Encyclical Letter on Christian Marriage i? But that denunciation is the anguish of a great heart for humanity.
" And charity is action. The Petition to the King asks for an enquiry, but we must certainly hope that action will follow that enquiry. That is why, in signing the Petition, you will be taking part in a great act of Charity—a great Christian effort to put an end to human wrongs and re-establish human rights.
" Poverty is the outcome of a disorderly system. Poverty will be removed when Social Order has replaced Social Disorder; for Social Order means Social Justice. Once money, instead of being tied up, is released, in Justice, to flow evenly throughout the whole of the social system, the main cause of poverty will no longer exist. There would be, as there should be, ample for everybody—for everybody amply to satisfy their needs. It is retorted that only so' many money-notes are manufac
tured. I can only reply: It is the necessities of life that matter, not money-notes. It is bread that matters, not paper. It is the masses of England who matter, not the Rank of England. And, therefore, if the masses need more money, so that all may purchase their full needs, do not prate about a monetary system as something sacrosanct, but demand of it, in the name of Justice and Charity, that •more .money shall be made —that human life shall come first, before the system.
The Makers of War " It seems to me," • concluded the speaker, " that we are compelled to face the facts of the situation; and that means facing not only the hideousness of modern war with its scientific machine slaughter, but facing the makers of it. And the makers of war are not you and I, not the people, not the masses who become its cannorr-fodderbut those who still believe in war. those who think out every political, national and international crisis in terms of war — the statesmen, the politicians, the army, the armament profiteers, and a certain section of the Press."
" This generation has, to my mind, a most solemn duty before God, that of voicing itself everywhere, and on every possible occasion. against the makers of war, until public opinion is rigidly set against war."
Wanted : Ten Million Names
Al the end of the meeting, Mrs. Cunningham gave a vote of thanks to all the speakers.
She stressed the aims of the Petition, and said that ten million signatures were wanted.
The work of this Council was severely handicapped by criticism; some people said they were Communists and some said they were Fascists; but the greatest handicap of all was the strong silence of the secular press.
The Catholic papers had, on the contrary, been helpful, and it had been the Catholic Herald who had first taken up the cause.
Mrs. Cunningham ended by stressing that the Petition was non-sectarian, and non-political; she appealed for donations, because in spite of rumours that the council was rich, they were very poor. Donations were to be sent to; Mrs. Cunningham, Windsor House, 46, Victoria Street. S.W.1.